Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thank goodness for my "purple powerhouses"

That's what I call my vacuum and my steam cleaner. With a house full of shedding pets (and one of which that has yet to be housebroken) my carpet would look horrible without this duo. I don't think it's natural for someone to love their vacuum and steam cleaner as much as I do, but when your 14-year-old berber looks brand new thanks to the regular use of these wonderful machines, it's something to get excited about.

This is my vacuum:

It's a Hoover Windtunnel Pet Rewind. If anyone is in the market for a new vacuum cleaner I *highly* recommend this one. The handle folds down for convenient storage, it's bagless with a rinsable hepa filter, comes with some great tools to help lift pet hair off of surfaces like couches and curtains, has a retractable cord that winds into the unit with the push of a button, and features an off switch for the beater brush which is important since between me and the dogs I used to end up cutting hair from around the bar after each room so as not to burn up the motor. I probably sound like an infomercial right now, but this machine is just that great!

And so as not to choose favorites, this is my steamer:

It's a Bissell Proheat pet edition. After cleaning up an 'accident' earlier today, I can tell you I'm not sure how I ever functioned without one of these in my home. Of course it's handy for spot cleaning, but it's always amazing to see how much dirt is lifted in areas that don't even look dirty. I'll run it over my high traffic areas that aren't showing signs of a mess and be astonished at how much brown water I'm seeing in this machine. The best part is that I have access to it for regular cleanings and no longer have to rent an overpriced RugDoctor from the grocery store. Seriously you pay 1/4 of what I got my steamer for and you only get to keep it 24 hours. If you have a lot of carpet and have the means I suggest getting one of these bad boys. Once you see the grime coming out of your carpet you'll thank me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Easy Apple Crisp

Who doesn't love apple crisp? It's warm, it's perfectly crispy, it's nutritious...I mean the main ingredient is apples so it has to be healthy right? ;) This recipe is easy (hence the recipe title) and tastes great. Plus apple crisp is versatile. You can use it as a side dish or as a stand-alone dessert!

You'll need:

3-4 Granny Smith apples (peeled and sliced)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup oats

1/4 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

25 vanilla wafers (crushed)

Toss apples in 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Place in glass dish. Combine oats, another teaspoon of cinnamon, the butter, crushed vanilla wafers, and the rest of the brown sugar in a bowl. When well-mixed, spread over top of apples and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Broccoli Cornbread

This recipe is from my grandma. Growing up she would make it often to accompany pretty much anything we had for dinner. I was a picky eater as a child so she was always trying to hide vegetables and other nutritious stuff in foods I actually liked so that I had a semi-balanced diet :)

You'll need:

1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix

1 12oz. carton of cottage cheese

1 stick of margarine-softened

1 10oz. package frozen chopped broccoli-thawed and drained

4 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 medium onion, chopped

*Since I love cheese, I sometimes add 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. You can pour into a greased baking dish, iron skillet, or muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Adoption bandanas

I recently took the dogs to the groomer for baths and a nail trim. When I picked them up they all had on bandanas with the business's logo printed on them. It dawned on me that this would be a great way to advertise that my foster dogs are up for adoption! I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Myles is certainly seen enough out in public between trips to PetSmart, dog park visits, and walks through our neighborhood, but unless I get into a conversation with someone people have no way of knowing he's looking for a forever home. I want people to know that if he's so cute you want to take him home...guess what? You can! I also wanted to do something that would help him stand out at adoption events, so I started searching the web for inexpensive doggie bandanas. I discovered and they had a great variety of fun bandanas. The best part is that they offer them at cost for people who work with rescues, so I got mine for $1.19 a piece. I ordered a couple different ones so I can use some now and have a few more to use with future fosters. Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Birthday perfection

Don't you just love when you find the perfect gift for someone? I do. Especially when it's a super awesome Craigslist find that saves you a whole lot of money! The hubby's birthday is coming up and he has been wanting to set up a home gym ever since we moved in together years ago. Living in apartments made that wish of his a little difficult but boy did he try anyway. We had a weight bench shoved in our tiny storage unit, free weights in the pantry, and an ab lounge in the living room that sometimes doubled as extra seating for guests! Well now that we have a house with a two-car garage there is plenty of space for his dream, and being the awesome wife I am I wanted to add to his collection. A quick search on Craigslist turned up the monster you see below. This particular piece of equipment retails for around $800, but someone who was making a short-notice move across the country was willing to part with it for $300. Score! This system does almost any workout possible. Bench press, leg extensions, curls, lat pull-downs, name it. I'm so excited to see the look on his face when he comes home after work the day of his birthday and this is all set up. I'm also excited because just as I love finding the perfect gifts, I also love finding gifts that I can put to use too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I lurve me some spinach dip. It goes great with tortilla chips, pita points, and regular ol' bread. This particular recipe is perfectly creamy and calls for lots of cheese, which is my favorite ingredient of all time. Make this dip when you have a crowd over and I guarantee you won't have any left over afterward.

You'll need:

1 14oz. can artichoke hearts-drained

1/3 cup grated romano cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 10oz. package frozen chopped spinach-thawed and drained

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 sour cream

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place artichoke hearts, romano cheese, parmesan cheese and garlic in a blender. Pulse until chopped then set aside. In a medium bowl mix together spinach, heavy cream, sour cream and mozzarella cheese. Stir in artichoke mixture and then spoon into baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meet Myles!

The hubs and I just recently picked up our first foster dog. He is a one and a half year old boxer/boston terrier mix who is just absolutely full of energy! So far he is getting along great with our other dogs although he does like to play a little rough which takes some getting used to. He's already housetrained and in the short time we've had him he has already mastered "sit," so he seems to be a fast learner. I'm hoping he will find a forever home soon as the more time I spend with him the more I feel myself becoming attached. I refuse to be a foster failure on the first dog! Here is a picture of him:

His lips often get caught on his teeth and reveal his little underbite. It cracks me up! We're working on leash training right now as well as more basic commands like "come" and "stay." I'll keep you all updated on his progress!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I heart glass tile

I love the look of glass tile. I love it in kitchens, bathrooms, anywhere. I've been googling it lately to get some inspiration for when we are finally able to do our kitchen reno and I've collected quite a few photos in the process. Since I love glass tile, and I like sharing things I love here on my blog, get ready to feast your eyes on some serious tile porn.

I love the soothing color of this tile. That black stripe gives it a nice polished look.

I want this tile for our bathroom. The shades of blue would be perfect for our coastal-inspired space!

The glass tile really works great to enhance the beauty of the slate used here in this kitchen.

Gotta love traditional subway tile!

This mosaic tile is beautiful. I love the abstract look of it.

I'm kinda diggin' this pebble look. It really adds interest to the basic tile surrounding it.

Shiny mirrored tile! It creates a very modern look.

More mirrored tile. I'm absolutely loving the look of this one!

A whole entire wall of glass tile? Yes, please :)

I love the clean, fresh look this tile creates.

Penny tile is kind of awesome.

This backsplash is fabulous. It's so fun!

I saved the best for last. The color, the shape, the texture...what's not to love?

Thanks for letting me share! What kind of tile style do you prefer?

I met James Franco!!

That hot piece of man candy you see above you? Yeah...I bumped into him. On a crosswalk. In my hometown. My mind is still reeling from the randomness of it. Apparently he is a super genius and is working on various degrees at a few different colleges, including one close to me. He was incredibly nice and just as good-looking in person as he is on the big screen. I'm still geeking out! Best chance encounter ever :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

I made this dessert over the holiday weekend (added blueberries to make sure I had my red, white, and blue!) and thought I'd share the recipe with you all here. It's an easy dessert to make and chances are pretty good if you take this to a party/reunion/cookout you will have brought a unique, un-duplicated dish that everyone can rave over.

You'll need:

2 cups crushed pretzels

3/4 cup melted butter

1 8oz package cream cheese

1 8oz cool whip

2 3oz packages of jello

2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons+3/4 cup sugar

2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar together. Press the mixture into a 9x13 pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. Beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the cool whip and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled. Dissolve jello mix in the boiling water then let cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pour over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I'm only a little obsessed

Up until recently I had never been to a yard sale. Shocking, right? I've coordinated plenty of them for fundraisers when I was involved in school athletics and organizations, and I've even held my own when I find my house is feeling cluttered with stuff I don't need, but actually going to one is a much different experience. An amazing, thrilling, adrenaline-inducing experience! It's true what they say that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I found so many items that I was shocked people wanted rid of...and for so cheap! I've definitely caught the yard sale bug, and now I find myself giddily scoping out Craigslist for upcoming sales. I was recently introduced to and that has raised my level of insanity a bit. It uses listings posted on Craigslist to create a map and route of all the sales within a set radius of your address. It's pretty neat and helps make me a much more efficient yard sale fanatic haha I will be sure to post pics of any thrifty awesomeness I find this weekend so keep your eyes peeled for that in a separate post!